Ayesha the Wonder Dog
‘Draw your chair up close to the edge of the precipice and I’ll tell you a story’
Scott Fitzgerald The Crack-Up
When I was a kid we had a dog named Ayesha. She was a Corgi with oversized ears, big personality and great intelligence. Ayesha had a male friend, a large, scruffy terrier called Sandy. They were inseparable. He visited Ayesha most days between nine and five. And was always made welcome.
Then one day something changed and Sandy no longer came around. He was still in the neighbourhood and I’d see him around. He was still friendly to me. But the two dogs virtually ignored each other. It was a mystery and nobody knew what had caused the split.
The modern dog has one hell of a good life. With the proviso that the dog lives in a pet orientated country like Australia and the owner treats them as a member of the family.
Australia apparently has one of the highest rates of pet ownership. And dogs are the number one pet. It’s been noted recently that there are more dogs in Australia than children under 15.
When I was a kid, dogs lived a very different life. For starters, the suburb I grew up in was an industrial suburb with open paddocks and unused land. And dogs were free range.
Dogs roamed around the streets unsupervised and went home when they felt like it. They had secret lives we didn’t know about. Our Corgi, Ayesha, accompanied us everywhere because we were free range children. On summer evenings when we were sent to bed early because we had visitors, it was our duty to escape. By climbing out the bedroom window.
I remember nearly breaking my neck as I lowered Ayesha down from a high window ledge. But being a smart dog she knew not to bark or whimper. Especially when we had to creep under the kitchen window. Moving quickly all fours, we could hear the adults conversing as they sucked down copious quantities of red wine. We were well aware that they were busy getting crapulous and we wouldn’t be missed.
Once we were out the gate, the streets were ours. The standout summer night was when a neighbour, Pearl, chased an unknown man down our street and stabbed him with a huge kitchen knife. He survived.
The police came and the matter was treated as a misunderstanding resulting in an accident. Even Ayesha knew that was adult shite. But no charges were pressed and Pearl wasn’t arrested. I adored Pearl, she was raising my good friend Michelle single-handedly. So I was really pleased she didn’t get thrown in the slammer.
Nobody bothered to explain to me what drove such a petite, charming, stylish young woman to publicly wield a murder weapon in the street.
But soon the gossip died down and nobody mentioned it again.
Photo: the author with Ayesha.